sex

arvan's picture

Call for Submissions: Here Come the Brides! The Brave New World of Lesbian Marriage

Call for Submissions: Here Come the Brides! The Brave New World of Lesbian Marriage (Seal Press, 2012)

2,000-4,000 words

Editors: Audrey Bilger and Michele Kort. Audrey Bilger is the Faculty Director of the Writing Center and Associate  Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College. Michele Kort is Senior Editor at Ms. magazine, a freelance writer, and author of three books (including Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro).

Same-sex marriage is obviously a hot topic these days, and we want to look specifically at the lesbian side of the equation. Given the secondary status of women throughout much of the globe, bonds between women—particularly intimate connections—can redefine the political landscape as well as the domestic realm. Anna and Eve don’t get as much press as Adam and Steve, but they’re potentially more threatening to the status quo.

Here Come the Brides will primarily cover legal marriages, but also lesbian commitment ceremonies in locales where the legal status of gay marriage is still up for grabs. We hope the book will be able to represent a diversity of points of view in terms of race, class, ethnicity and geography, and incorporate transgender perspectives. Although the book will be generally upbeat about lesbian marriage, we’d also like viewpoints from those who are opposed to either being married themselves or who have issues with the institution or the politics of same-sex marriage.

We’re looking for a variety of material: primarily first-person essays, but also secondhand observations, bridesmaid/mother-of-the-bride/etc. stories, and even analytical pieces (as long as they’re written in an accessible style). We’re open to graphic essays/cartoons as well, and we’re eager to see lesbian wedding ephemera: great photos, invitations, newspaper wedding announcements, vows, guest favors.

Needless to say, we’re looking for terrific writing—colorful, moving, funny, surprising, insightful. We can imagine essays that cover a lesbian marriage from soup to nuts, but we think it’s more likely, given the word limitation, that it might be best to focus on a certain aspect of lesbian marriage or of your particular wedding—at least as an organizing principle.

ptaguy's picture

Heterosexuality - A Queer Perspective

Originally published on http://gaywarfare.blogspot.com/

arvan's picture

Undesired: A Short Film About Discarded Girls

India is a diverse country separated by class and caste. But all women confront the cultural pressure to bear a son.  This preference cuts through every social divide, from geography to economy.  No woman is exempt.

This preference originates from the belief that men make money while women, because of their expensive dowry costs, are a financial burden.  As a result, there is a near constant disregard for the lives of women and girls.  From birth until old age, women face a constant threat of violence and too frequently, death.

The numbers are staggering.  Since 1980, an estimated 40 million women are 'missing,' by way of abortion, neglect or murder. 7,000 female fetuses are aborted every day according to the U.N., aborted solely because they are girls.  One dowry death is reported every 77 minutes.  Countless others are never known.

The government has tried to intervene.  Dowry and sex selective abortions are illegal.  Yet both practices still thrive, in large part because of deep-rooted cultural prejudices.

Today, eighty percent of Indian states are now facing a shortage of women.  To compensate for this differential, young, unknowing women are bought from surrounding countries like Bangladesh and sold to young bachelors.  Not knowing a word of the language, these trafficked women now face the same kinds of violence as other Indian women.

Read more: Mothers of a Hundred Sons: India's Dying Daughters.

Links:
The Alexia Foundation
Visa Pour l'Image: Astrada's back with new chapter in ongoing project
Visa Pour l'Image: Interview with Walter Astrada
United Nations Development Programme: Power, Voice and Rights (pdf)
Disappearing Daughters: Action Aid & International Development Research Centre (pdf)
NYT: Missing: 50 Million Indian Girls
The Guardian: Women fight for life

arvan's picture

The Story Of My Addiction

This post is about addictions, self-harm, self-discovery and eventually, self-care.  I recently had occasion to think back to when I was 20 years old.  I retraced my steps to the present day for the first time in one sitting and was quite surprised with my reaction to the story of my own life.

Looking back, I was terrified at the prospect of finding my way in the world.   At the time, I just knew that I was getting high all the time and felt shame, despair and fear like a lump in my throat almost choking the breath out of me.  I was on the verge of a great sadness, constantly frightened and alone.

I looked around for love or sex or something to quiet that feeling of loneliness, but no such comfort was there to be found.   I remember awkward, clumsy moments with women and some conversations we had about sexuality, friendship and literature/music.  I remember standing in my kitchen talking to one woman on the phone about her attraction to women.  She was wondering where to go with it and I wanted to be her friend even if it meant not being a lover.  I hope to god that I actually communicated that!

I remember another girl that I tried to get a relationship with, but she eventually stopped the relationship because I had no money and no clear indication that I was going to have any.  That triggered my shame issues and I chose to leave for the Green Berets like some romantic sod off to the French Foreign Legion in the wake of a broken heart. (what a mope!)

I figured that if my life didn't change, I was going to end up as someone standing around talking with great authority about how my life would be if I ever lived one.

So, off I go to the Green Berets because it was the hardest thing I could find in the military.  I joined the Green Berets because I was lost in my life.  I figured that I would either grow up or die trying.

arvan's picture

Sex Education Is A Political Act.

(This post is part of a blog carnival to raise awareness and funding for Scarleteen - the longest running fact-based sex education resource on the Intenet.)


(via withoutgods)

Sex Education is a political act. 

In terms of group politics - there are large groups of people who are fighting to prevent you from learning any facts about sex.  Facts that can effect your health, income, present, future, career, happiness, ability to have or enjoy sex, choice of sex partners and even the ability to have sex.

People get elected using by using sex to scare voters - queer sex, teen sex, unmarried sex, kinky sex, fun sex, sex of any kind.    Cultural practices and commonly held beliefs about sex punish or shame people for even discussing sex, much less teaching it to a classroom.

Organized religions and self-appointed 'holy men' claim to speak for their god in calling sex a sin.  Sex is a fact of mammalian evolution and humans are mammals.  That undisputable, proven fact is a direct challenge to the notion of sin and therefore a challenge to any religious or secular institution that believes that sex is a sin.

In the arena of personal politics - young people are dependent upon those who come before us to offer up the knowledge of previous generations - or they can withhold it.  As teens we struggle with asking the adults in our lives for information, guidance and the benefit of their experience on one hand, while on the other hand - we wish to assert our own judgment and choices. 

What you are told about sex is a political act. 

People who may or may not have your interests in mind spend a lot of time shaping the information you receive about sex because they want you to make decisions that favor them or their world view.  What is best for them may not be what is best for you.  The only way for you to make an informed decision is for you to have facts.

Kaberi Gayen's picture

Feminist Responses towards Fundamentalisms and Neo-liberal Economy

This is the final installment of a six-part series, orignally posted at e-Bangladesh.  

Last Episode

Discussion and Conclusion

Asian feminists’ problems are somehow different from that of western societies. The nature of their problem may be understood from an advertisement that Othman (2006) mentioned in the context of Malaysia. An advertisement (in Malay) on all local TV stations in 2003 portrayed a veiled beautiful Muslim Malay woman who in order to ‘please her husband’ groomed her hair with the shampoo being advertised. The advertisement never showed her unveiled head, only a frame of her husband supposedly admiring her beautiful recently shampooed hair! What could be a better metaphor than this advertisement to portray the combined attack of corporate capital and religious fundamentalism in one female body!

Throughout literature, the rise of religious fundamentalisms has been portrayed as the reaction to the failure of capitalist democracy. Mernissi (1989) argues that the spread of fundamentalism in the last two decades has stemmed from the political and social failures of the secular, authoritarian states of the post-colonial period, states that operate within the rules of the International Monetary Fund and the interests of the imperialist powers.  Again, feminism has been seen as the response to fundamentalism. Taking either side, i.e., fundamentalist side or corporate capital side, may prove to be fatal.

We need to consider that religious fundamentalisms are in rise in this region with help from rightist political parties in power who support unconditional foreign investment in most of the countries and women lack not only human capital but social capital too. Also their access to political power is limited though many countries of this region are headed by women with almost no impact on women’s life. This cast further insight that women’s participation in democratic process is important but more important is to understand what political agenda they are advocating for. A note of caution here is, almost all the renowned women leaders of this region are in politics by inheritance, either of their father’s or husband’s. They just carry out the patriarchal agenda set by the concerned political parties and do not want to loose their vote taking any pro-women action that might hostile the religious fundamentalism unless they have pressures from  foreign donor agencies.

arvan's picture

New Film from LGBTCentreMongolia: Tsenher tengeriin tsaana

Created as part of an exhibition at the Mongolian National Modern Art Museum, Behind The Blue Sky depicts an unmentionable love between two Mongolian boys - one from the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, and the other, a nomadic herder from the countryside.

To protect the identities of the Mongolian actors, their faces are obscured by a khadag, a traditional blue scarf.

Created by Sean Devaney & Brandt Miller
.

arvan's picture

Pinocchio has gender issues

Kaberi Gayen's picture

Encagement of beauty and rise of two feminisms

This is the fifth installment of a six-part series, orignally posted at e-BangladeshThe next episode will be posted tomorrow.

Episode - Five

While on one hand this free market economy is prescribing national governments for cutting the provision of education, housing, healthcare and childcare that lessen the economic burden on women and assist their economic independence, on the other hand they are maximising their capital by exploiting women in entertainment and beauty industries.

Women’s Body Esteem is a big business worldwide. Billions of dollars are spent on the “weight loss industry” yearly. That industry is solely dependent on women’s self-hatred. Women are reduced to size, told to be less, told to shed big chunks of themselves for acceptance. Likewise, the “beauty industry” has convinced millions of women that chemical crap on their faces, and plucked eyebrows that are drawn back on, is “beauty.”

The modelling industry, as Ann Simonton (www.mediawatch.com), a former cover model for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Cosmo, Covergirl, etc., observed is promoting an unattainable standard of beauty for women.  In a quest for thinness, women starve themselves, vomit, have their stomach stapled, their jaws wired shut and fat sucked out. Not only are women told that they are too fat, but they are also told that everything else about their bodies needs improvement. Media images teach women that they need to inject collagen into their lips because they are too thin. They are told to inject botox into their faces to freeze nerve endings and iron out wrinkles. Their teeth are not white enough, nor are their skin, their eyes are not blue enough, their hair is not shiny or straight enough, nothing they do is ever enough. This trend is ever increasing.  Just for an example, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, 8.5 million U.S. cosmetic procedures were performed in 2001, increased by 48 percent since 2000. Growth is not confined to America, with cosmetic procedures in Asia estimated to be growing 20 percent a year. The German annual growth rate is 15 percent, according to the European Society of Plastic Surgeons, and in Britain there was a 30 percent rise just over 2000.

To sustain and increase this trend, an ideological warfare is always employed against women through mass media, not only in advertisements but also in drama, soap opera, film, magazine and of course in pornography to manufacture their consent. Virtually any mainstream magazine or television commercial shows women’s bodies being used not only to sell products like cosmetics and clothing, but also to sell products that bear no connection to women’s bodies, like cars, food and electronics. The images of women that are used to sell, well, virtually anything, are sexualized, commodified and objectified.

Kaberi Gayen's picture

Exploitation wins in Fatwa and Neo-Liberalism

This is the fourth installment of a six-part series, orignally posted at e-BangladeshThe next episode will be posted tomorrow.

Episode - Four    

Another basic difference that the women under Islamic doctrine have to suffer from is though other religious fundamentalisms are rising worldwide, women may get the shelter of secular laws of respective countries, but the lives of Muslim women are guided primarily by religious laws. Islamic legal system regulating women-related issues, the family law (al-akhwal al-syakhsyiyyah), has remained static and immutable since its codification a thousand years ago. This same law has been used as a reference on issues like gender relations, polygamy, divorce, inheritance, women’s leadership role, etc. which, unsurprisingly, reaffirms the already patriarchal attitudes of these societies. 

However the most significant feature that has distinguished Muslim fundamentalism from others is as pointed out by Helie-Lucas (2005): “It is also a transnational political movement. This makes it different from most other religious rights that also use religion for political purposes but are more geographically located. ‘Religious’ demands made in Europe and North America to give visibility and specificity to ‘Muslims’ have all been done under the control of fundamentalists with an exclusive focus on the control of women. For an example, in France, Muslim fundamentalists demanded the end of co-educational schools, a different curriculum for girls in state schools that includes a banning of sports, music, graphic arts, biology (like Christian fundamentalists in the US, they refuse Darwinism and want creationism to be taught—at least to girls!), the ‘right to veil’ for girls under age.”

 Thus Islamic fundamentalism has a global character and imposes all Muslim women of the world to be conformed to that character. So if anybody even tries to leave her/his country to enjoy the privilege of secular law in the adopted country, the fear of death in names of ‘fatwa’ runs after them. Fatwa of persecution after Salman Rushdi, Taslima Nasrin, and Nawal el-Saadawi are only a few examples.

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